Joseph takes an in-depth look at the fabulous Odery CafeKit and gives us his impressions.

Wembley Music Centre - Odery Cafe Kit

Odery. We love them here at Wembley Music Centre, and you only need to understand them to know why. For those of you who don’t know, Odery is a Brazilian drum manufacturer, for whom we have the pleasure of being the sole stockist in the UK! Odery really stand out, and are certainly original, particularly with their frequent use of the native woods araucaria. Always looking to provide the best value they can, Odery even work their hardest to provide kits that are both environmentally and socially responsible. But before I get carried away with the wonders of Odery, let’s take a look at their extremely popular CafeKit.

Originally looking to build a beginner kit, that could then be expanded to become a ‘regular’ kit, Odery set out to build what would become the CafeKit. After some development, the plan changed, and Odery were now looking to build a compact kit like no other. At the 2014 NAMM show, the name CafeKit was finally born, and as Compact Drums put it “Odery have quite successfully re-invented the compact drum kit from the ground up”.

First Impressions

I have had the pleasure of hearing both Odery’s more entry-level kits, and also their high-end custom series, but their diversity means I didn’t know exactly what to expect from the CafeKit. Looking first at the price, only £349 with hardware included, this kit is seriously competitive. Despite knowing Odery’s brilliant record of quality, I must say I was suspicious of how I would find this kit, particularly the hardware, in the knowledge that it was originally planned to be a beginner kit. Some nudging of the kit quickly eased my mind as it felt stable, despite the mounting of the toms and snare (which I will go into later). The kit certainly looks great, and as the resonant kick heads say: “everything’s cool”. I got to play the Blue Sparkle finish, but the kit also comes in Polar Tiger Peal, White, Black Ash and White Ash, all of which look great.

Design

With the primary selling point of this kit being its compact nature, the design for this kit is key. One of the first things I noticed was the lack of legs. Both the high tom and floor tom mount off the kick, and the snare mounts from the hi-hat stand. Looking at the kit, I was curious about the sturdiness of the tom mounts, which could be likened to the legs of a floor tom. However, I am pleased to announce that I found no problem with the 10”, with no shaking any more than any other tom mount, and it felt secure. The 12” tom I noticed did have some more significant wobble, but this doesn’t detract from the feel of the kit. I realised that it, in fact, felt similar to the floor tom legs on some high-end Tama kits, designed to improve resonance. Some kits that mount like this I find do have some limitation in terms of adaptability for different setups, but I found that I could adjust the toms to suit my style perfectly. The snare is very sensibly set up on a ball joint meaning there is also complete freedom here. One drawback, albeit only very slight, is that the height of the kick isn’t adjustable, though I feel that Odery have set it at a nice point where it will suit most, if not all players. Sitting at the kit, something quite striking is the design of the ‘see-through’ lugs. The design is relatively exposing of the tension rod, and I first assumed that this was simply for the sake of reducing either the weight, or space they take up. However, this wasn’t the only reason for Odery’s decision on this kit. If loosened just enough, the tension rods can be swung out of the lug, meaning that changing heads is far easier than on most kits.

The most obvious thing to note is the size of the drums. Not only are the toms small in diameter (10” and 12”), but they are also shallow (5.5” and 6”). Though I will go into sound later, this is naturally going to be a plus in terms of compactness. The kick is also a similar story, being only 14x11”. The shells are all 100% basswood, which is a slightly cheaper wood, though slightly costlier than poplar which is maybe the most popular wood for low-price kits. For those of you who don’t know, basswood is sometimes likened to maple or mahogany, and it gives a relatively deep and round tone. I expect that this decision was made to balance the likely higher-resonancy shallow shells of the kit.

The hardware that comes with the kit is from Odery’s InRock line. Everything felt suitable sturdy. The only drawback in terms of hardware, I feel, is the pedal, which lacks a solid base plate, which in my opinion is the make or break between the feel of a good pedal or an entry level pedal. However, having said that, I recognise that it is perfect for a beginner, and if it is a more experienced drummer looking for a compact kit, it is likely they will already have a pedal of choice.

Sound

Starting with the kick, I was pleasantly surprised. Out the box, it is certainly more ‘ringy’ than my personal preference would dictate, a little bit ‘New Orleans’ in nature, and although suitable for certain styles, the kick easily adapted with some dampening, and after only very slight customisation, a preferable sound was achieved. I don’t know if the easy adaptability is a good thing, or rather a negative thing (as you may want the kick to just meet your requirements straight off), but for me, I love that freedom. The kick has a surprising amount of punch, and it doesn’t dramatically lack in sound. It naturally doesn’t compete with the 20”, but I think it could confidently run against a 16”, and maybe even an 18”. Moving onto the toms, I expected that the shallow shells would give them a limited tuning range, but surprisingly, this wasn’t the case. The toms indeed have a higher range, but manage to hold their tone even at a lower range. The only disadvantage for me was that they took a little longer to tune as I wanted as opposed to deeper, larger toms, but this very much depends on your capabilities when it comes to tuning. The snare, I found, was a little limited in its sound, but this isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s relatively unremarkable, which although sounds like a negativity, it works perfectly as it means this snare doesn’t stand out from the kit or, indeed, the band. It’s a tight and pretty dry sound, but can be tuned a bit warmer or even more snappy.

Verdict

As Odery say “This project was a joy to develop”, and you can tell when you sit at the kit. In terms of design, it is brilliant. The lack of legs (for the snare and floor tom) is a big plus for me, yet still feels very sturdy. The kit certainly does not sound like a beginner kit. It can sound reserved for smaller venues, but I think could even hold its own in some larger spaces. It is surprisingly adaptable in terms of sound, maybe excluding the snare, and can suit a wide range of styles. I can’t think of what else to say. It’s a good-looking, good-sounding, very compact kit. No wonder it is one of the quickest selling kits we’ve had here at Wembley Music Centre!

Specifications

  • Bass Drum – 14” x 11”
  • High Tom – 10” x 5.5”
  • Floor Tom – 12” x 6”
  • Snare – 12” x 5”
  • Shells – 100% Basswood

Hardware

  • inRock Pedal P-702IR
  • inRock Hi hat Stand H-702IR
  • inRock Cymbal stand C-702IR
  • 2 x tom holders with memories
  • 4 x bass spur with memories
  • Pedal Adaptor
  • Snare clamp holder

The Odery Cafekit is available in four great finishes exclusively at Wembley Music Centre. Check them out today by clicking the link Odery CafeKits